No Walk in the Park

By Laura Gordon

Just for the record, having plantar fasciitis (PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus) is no walk in the park. The first thing you will notice, if you should ever experience plantar fasciitis, is a very painful heel when pressure is applied particularly in the morning when first getting out of bed or after you’ve been sitting long time in one position and you get up to walk across the room. The good part is that the pain subsides after walking for a while, but the bad news is that planter fasciitis will be a part of your life for a while.

How does anyone get planter fasciitis? Primarily it is due to strained ligaments whose job it is to support the arch in the foot, possibly torn from too much of an inward roll of the foot when walking called pronation (see image), other factors include over weight, poorly fitting shoes, or maybe walking, standing or running for long periods of times on hard flooring.

Techniques to use:

1. A critical part of the treatment is stretching the plantar fascia. Sit erect on the floor with legs straight in front and toes pointed to the ceiling, hold the two ends of a belt and loop the belt over the ball of the foot with plantar fasciitis, slowly pull your hands toward your body and feel the stretch in the foot. Do this several times for a total of 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Placing the foot across the other leg, use the thumb to work deep into the heel of the foot starting at the Calcaneus via the Achilles’ tendon work around the ankle and down the heel, end with deep cross fiber friction at the base of the arch of the foot. Though it’s painful, repeat this procedure several times at each treatment.

3. Using a golf ball roll the heel of the foot over the ball in all directions using 10 to 20 pounds of downward weight on the ball.

4. Using ice or cyotherapy will reduce pain and inflammation. Ice packs can be used regularly until symptoms have disappeared

Life style changes to make:

1. If you do a lot of walking and or standing look into getting properly measured and fitted orthopedic inserts for your shoes.

2. Be sure to take pressure off as often as possible by elevating the foot. The more this can be done the better. Just remember the less stress on the foot the quicker the healing time.

3. Using a night splint is a great overnight tool in the healing process. While sleeping the splint gently stretches the plantar fascia and calf muscles preventing them from getting tight during the night.

4. Taping is another successful tool; applied in strips it helps by supporting the plantar fascia relieving stress of the fascia which in turn allows healing to occur.

With care and consistent attention the symptoms disappear anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Prevention of plantar fasciitis starts with keeping your ankles, feet and toes flexible. Be sure to include range of motion when you give yourself a foot massage each night before going to bed. Working deep into the tendons on the pad of each foot will be most helpful as well.

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